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Posts tagged: idaho state board of education

State Board backs new tiered licensing system for teachers, opens it for public comments

Idaho’s state Board of Education has voted unanimously to give preliminary approval to a new tiered certification system for teachers, opening the way for a public comment period and public hearing before final consideration of the rule in November. The new way of approaching teacher certification and licensing was developed as part of the governor’s education task force’s 20 recommendations for improving education in the state; the new licensing system would be tied to a new teacher pay system that would sharply increase Idaho teacher pay.

“This is a sea change in how we handle the certification of Idaho teachers,” said state Board President Emma Atchley.

However, the Idaho Education Association has opposed a key aspect of the new rule, Idaho Education News reports, arguing that a teacher’s license or certificate should not be dependent on educator evaluations performed at the local level. EdNews reporter Clark Corbin reports that IEA members have opposed the evaluations rule in committee meetings, but no one spoke against it as the state board considered it on Thursday.

Corbin reports that the new system essentially calls for two tiers of teacher certification. The first is a three-year, non-renewable residency certificate for teachers just starting out in the profession. The second is a professional certificate for teachers who have more than three years of experience and meet eligibility, student growth and performance standards. Within the professional tier, there are standard and master professional certificates. There’s also a contingent professional certificate for teachers who don’t meet all renewal requirements, and an interim certificate for teachers moving to Idaho from elsewhere. You can read Corbin’s full report here, and see the full state board rule here.

Universities name programs they could cut to save money, re-prioritize

Idaho State University would eliminate its bachelor’s degrees in German and French. Boise State would do away with its Department of Bilingual Education, and could eliminate its College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs in a restructuring. The University of Idaho would do away with bachelor’s degrees in musical theater, American studies and medical technology. All are among proposals presented to the State Board of Education yesterday as part of a year-long required look at university programs aimed at cost-cutting, reports Boise State Public Radio’s Adam Cotterell; the schools looked at every program offered and judged each based on things like return on investment and demand. The state board required all the state’s four-year colleges and universities to examine and prioritize their programs; layoffs could result. Cotterell’s full report is online here.

Sen. John Goedde, former Sen. Melinda Smyser among those passed over for Board of Ed

Among those Gov. Butch Otter passed over for the two recent state Board of Education openings, to whom he appointed David Hill and Debbie Critchfield: Outgoing Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene; former Sen. Melinda Smyser, R-Parma; Trudy Anderson, a retired associate vice president from the University of Idaho; and more. Idaho Education News reporter Kevin Richert writes today about the selection process, including what both Hill, a former top official at the Idaho National Laboratory, and Critchfield, a board member and current public information officer for the Cassia County School District, said in their applications. You can read his full report here.

Otter taps Hill and Critchfield for state Board of Education openings

Gov. Butch Otter announced his choices for two openings of the state Board of Education today: David Hill of Boise, retired executive vice president of the Battelle Energy Alliance and deputy director for science and technology at the Idaho National Laboratory; and Debbie Critchfield of Oakley, a former member and chairman of the Cassia County School Board, current member of the Cassia County Republican Central Committee and an active education volunteer who served on the state technology task force. Hill will replace longtime board member Milford Terrell, who stepped down this month; Critchfield will replace Ken Edmunds, who left the board to become Otter's director of the Idaho Department of Labor in November. Otter called the field of applicants for the two posts “stellar,” saying in a statement, “Frankly, I couldn’t have made a bad choice. I’m very grateful for the willingness of all the candidates to serve and to help advance my vision for education in Idaho.” Click below for Otter's full announcement.

State Ed Board hires Dwight Johnson as new head of professional-technical ed

The Idaho State Board of Education today hired Dwight Johnson, most recently a senior administrator at the Idaho Department of Labor, as its new state head of professional-technical education. Johnson recently also was a finalist for the job of state director of legislative services, a position that ended up going to longtime legislative aide Eric Milstead instead.

“Dwight’s experience in education and workforce development will be tremendously beneficial to the division,” said Mike Rush, the state board’s executive director. “With his 20 years of experience in senior administrative positions and his relationships with industry, legislators, educators and students, Dwight is ideally suited to lead PTE in Idaho.”

Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Brigham Young University; a master’s in public administration from BSU; and is a candidate for a Ph.D in organizational learning and leadership from the University of Idaho. “I understand and am passionate about the value and benefit of professional-technical education for individuals, for businesses and for our state economy,” Johnson said in a statement. “I'm looking forward to working with PTE educators, our technical colleges and the business community to provide education and workforce development opportunities for Idahoans.”

Johnson, 56, will earn an annual salary of $104,998.

Ahlquist, Jaquet among finalists for two seats on state Board of Ed

Five finalists are being interviewed today for an opening on the Idaho State Board of Education, and one of them is Tommy Ahlquist, chief operating officer of Gardner Company, an emergency room physician, Idaho State University Foundation board member, founder of a Boise-based defibrillator company and more. Ahlquist is the head of Gardner Co.’s Idaho operations, which include the newly constructed, 18-story 8th & Main Building in downtown Boise, and the City Center Plaza project, for which ground was broken today. The five being interviewed today are finalists for the board seat being vacated this month by longtime board member Milford Terrell.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter already has interviewed four finalists for an earlier board opening, created when then-board member Ken Edmunds became Otter’s new state Department of Labor director. Otter confirmed that one of those four is former state Rep. Wendy Jaquet, but declined to name the other finalists for either of the two positions.

Board of Ed approves 5% raises for two university presidents

Idaho’s State Board of Education voted unanimously today to give 5 percent pay raises to the presidents of Boise State University and Idaho State University, a 3 percent raise for the head of Lewis-Clark State College, and a 7.2 percent raise for the executive director of the office of the state board. The raises followed performance reviews for each of the top positions; the University of Idaho wasn’t included because new UI President Chuck Staben just started work on March 1.

With the raises – all effective June 8 – BSU President Bob Kustra’s salary will rise to $371,104; ISU President Arthur Vailas’ to $357,029; LCSC President Tony Fernandez’ to $176,011; and state board executive director Mike Rush’s to $129,938. The proposed raise for Rush is still subject to review by Gov. Butch Otter.

Otter seeks applicants for State Board of Education opening

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is calling for applications for an opening on the State Board of Education due to the retirement of longtime member Milford Terrell of Boise. Otter’s taking applications through Monday, June 16; Terrell, who is stepping down June 30, has until February of 2017 in his term, so that’s the term the appointee would serve.

Meanwhile, Otter still hasn’t made a decision on another opening on the state board, the one created when he named member Ken Edmunds the director of the state Department of Labor in November. Sixteen people applied for that opening, and the governor is deciding among four finalists, all of whom he’s interviewed. “The governor’s always said about these things, he doesn’t believe in rushing them,” said Otter spokesman Jon Hanian. “He’d much rather take his time and make sure he’s got the right pick than meeting some artificial self-imposed deadline. But given where we are, I don’t think it’s going to be very much longer” ‘til that appointee is named.

The State Board of Education is charged by the Idaho Constitution with overseeing both higher education and the state’s K-12 public schools. It has eight members, including the state superintendent of schools. The seven members appointed by the governor, who serve five-year terms, are required by law to be selected “solely upon consideration of the ability of such appointees efficiently to serve the interests of the people, and education, without reference to locality, occupation, party affiliation or religion.” To be eligible, an applicant must have been a resident of the state for at least three years.

Click below for Otter’s announcement, including application information.

State Ed Board elects new officers, Atchley to take over as president

Emma Atchley of eastern Idaho has been elected president of the State Board of Education, taking over from Don Soltman, who finished up his term as president today; he was elected secretary for the coming year. The board also elected Rod Lewis of Boise as its vice president. “Don has done an outstanding job, and we appreciate all he has accomplished,” Atchley said. “The students of our state are fortunate to have such diligent, thoughtful leaders working on their behalf.”

Terrell to resign from state Ed Board in June

Idaho State Board of Education member Milford Terrell has announced that he’ll step down from the board on June 30, three years before the expiration of his current five-year term. “I’ve served as a volunteer for 30 years for six governors on numerous boards and committees,” said Terrell, who is in his third term on the board. “My wife and I have decided it’s time to scale back on some of these activities.”

Board President Don Soltman praised Terrell, saying, “His wise counsel and tireless efforts will be greatly missed.” It’ll be up to Gov. Butch Otter to appoint a new member to serve out the remainder of Terrell’s term.

State ed board approves college tuition and fee hikes, with trims

Idaho’s State Board of Education has approved tuition increases for next year of 4 percent at BSU and the University of Idaho, 2 percent at Lewis-Clark State College and 3.5 percent at Idaho State University. The board trimmed back the requested increases for both BSU and UI, which had sought a 4.7 percent tuition and fee increase; board members said they wanted to hold the hikes to no more than 4 percent. “The board recognizes how difficult it is for our students to bear the cost of their public higher education,” said board President Don Soltman.

The state board is meeting today and tomorrow in Moscow; you can see their full tuition and fee announcement here. Oddly, not addressed in the announcement – but covered in the chart at the end – is Eastern Idaho Technical College’s request for a 6.3 percent increase in tuition and fees, which the board approved. That jumps annual tuition and fees at the school from $2,122 to $2,256. The board’s announcement is headed “Tuition and fees held at low levels,” and notes that full-time tuition and fees in Idaho are low compared to peer institutions both in the west and nationwide.

BSU requested a 6.1 percent increase for full-time students and 1.5 percent for part-time; the board approved 5.5 percent for full-time and 1.5 percent for part-time, for an average across the student body of 4 percent. Tuition and fees to attend BSU full-time will rise from $6,292 this year to $6,640 next year; at the U of I, it’ll go from $6,524 this year to $6,784 next year.

Mathias chosen as state board’s new chief academic officer

Chris Mathias has been hired as the new chief academic officer for the Idaho State Board of Education, replacing Selena Grace, who left in September for a post at Idaho State University. Mathias was policy manager in the office of the president at Boise State University; he’s also a former law professor and Coast Guard veteran. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from BSU, a law degree from Vermont Law School, and a Ph.D in law and public policy from Northeastern University.

Don Soltman, state board president, said, “Chris will be a great addition to the team. We are looking forward to working with him to advance the initiatives underway to improve education in Idaho.” The position pays $92,000 a year.

 

Otter wants applications for state Board of Ed opening by Dec. 9

Gov. Butch Otter is asking anyone interested in the opening on the state Board of Education to apply by Dec. 9, a week from next Monday. The opening comes after Otter appointed board member Ken Edmunds to head the state Department of Labor; the appointee will serve out Edmunds' term, which runs through March 1, 2018. Otter noted that state law says the best applicant must be chosen for the position, without regard to “locality, occupation, party affiliation or religion.”

“The goal in all my appointments to the Board is to find members who can view Idaho’s education system holistically, putting aside parochial connections to any single institution and instead focusing on our statewide needs and opportunities for improvement,” Otter said in a statement.  “Our colleges and universities have the responsibility to help prepare Idaho’s workforce for the future. The Board of Education is charged with ensuring those institutions have the tools and the oversight they need to work collaboratively toward our statewide goals.”

Otter's choice to fill the vacancy would be subject to confirmation by the state Senate. To apply for the vacancy, send a resume and a letter of interest to the governor's office, to the attention of Anne Beebe.

Some state Board of Ed members worry that boosting public school funding will hurt higher ed

Some members of Idaho’s State Board of Education, meeting today in Lewiston, were sharply critical of state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna’s proposal for a 5.9 percent funding increase for public schools next year, Clark Corbin of Idaho EdNews reports, with board member Bill Goesling terming it “unacceptable” and saying it would come at the expense of the state’s colleges and universities. “I think at some point the board is going to have stand up and say, ‘This is not going to work for higher education,’ ” Goesling said.

The public school budget proposal is aimed at phasing in the recommendations of a 31-member education reform task force that included four state board members. It doesn’t address higher ed funding.

State Board member Milford Terrell said, “The fact is these numbers are staggering when you look at where we are going and what we are doing and who is going to be robbed in this whole spectrum of moneys.” But member Richard Westerberg, who headed the task force, responded, “I don’t think anyone on the board or in the room would argue that we have adequately funded K-12 education.” You can read Corbin’s full report here.

Public comment sought on school rule changes, from cursive instruction to PE as grad requirement

The Idaho State Board of Education is taking public comments on six proposed rule changes, on everything from requiring Idaho school kids to get cursive writing instruction to adding two credits of PE as a high school graduation requirement. Idaho Education News has a rundown here on the rule changes and how to comment; there’s a public hearing set for Oct. 8, and the state board is scheduled to consider the rules at its November meeting. Comments will be accepted through the end of October.

All six rule changes were proposed by state schools Superintendent Tom Luna; you can read his office’s summary here of the changes and public comment opportunities. In addition to cursive and PE, the rules address ISAT testing, an adjustment to math and science requirements, teacher education and endorsements, and an in-service math training requirement for teachers.

State Board backs UI law school expansion in Boise, rejects UI Law enrollment cap

The State Board of Education, in a special meeting this morning, has voted 5-3 in favor of adding a second year to the University of Idaho’s law school program in Boise, which currently offers only the third year of law school; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com. The vote came after much debate, during which past opponents of the move said they’d support it if it came along with a cap on total UI law school enrollment.

“I certainly have felt that the quality of the program, both in terms of instruction, in terms of enrollment, etc., would be improved by being in the Boise market where it’s so close to the center of state government, and so close to the business community in the Boise area, and also legal professionals in the Boise area,” said board member Rod Lewis. “It’s not their intent that by doing so, they would significantly expand the size of the school.” He proposed a cap on total law school enrollment of 360, which is slightly over the average enrollment for the past five years, to accompany the funding.

UI President Don Burnett said, “We do think that the second year program (in Boise) will make the law school more attractive and more competitive. I do think the principal effect will be quality and giving more access to students in areas where they want to get either specialty training or get their training at a place advantageous to themselves and their families, economically and professionally.” But, he said, “Our preference is not to have a cap. … Our preference is that we be given the same sound discretion that other academic units have, rather than a cap, even though the 360 is a figure we could live with.”

Adding the second year in Boise would cost the state about $400,000 a year. Board member Richard Westerberg said, “Frankly, I’m still conflicted, because what we’re really talking about here is almost another million-dollar annual subsidy to produce lawyers. … If we actually got another million dollars going forward to spend on something, is the highest and best use to produce attorneys?” But he said he’d support the move with the cap attached.

Lewis said there’s an oversupply of attorneys nationwide, but Burnett said those statistics don’t count the 30 percent of UI law graduates who choose to go into another profession, rather than practice law. Board members noted that Concordia Law School, a private law school, has opened in Boise and already attracted more than 70 students. “Concordia is showing us that there is a demand to have this kind of education in Boise,” Lewis said, adding that he believes the UI law school should be moved to Boise. Burnett said Boise is the best location for students in some fields, and Moscow is the best for others; he said Idaho is a net importer of attorneys, with only 28 percent of those admitted to the bar in Idaho in recent years having graduated from the U of I. He added, “We are nowhere near saturating the legal education market. We are still admitting only about half of the applicants,” Burnett said.

Board member Emma Atchley called a cap “a very bad precedent,” and board member Bill Gosling suggested it might even violate the Idaho Constitution’s requirement that the UI law school provide legal education throughout the state. Atchley said, “I guess I’m rather amazed that we would even take a step of this nature.”

Gosling made a substitute motion to back funding for the second-year Boise program with no mention of a cap; it passed 5-3, with just Lewis, Westerberg and member Ken Edmunds dissenting. Those voting in favor were Gosling, Atchley, Don Soltman, Tom Luna and Milford Terrell. The proposal now goes to the governor and the Legislature.

Idaho grad requirements for math, science now don’t cover computers, engineering; rule change in works

It turns out that when Idaho increased its high school graduations for math and science to require three years of each, the definition of classes that qualified didn't include advanced engineering or computer science classes. As a result, students who wanted to take those classes only got elective credit, and didn't fulfill their math and science grad requirements. Now, state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna and the Idaho Technology Council have partnered to propose changes to the state rule to define dual credit engineering, dual credit computer science, or Advanced Placement (AP) computer science as eligible for the math and science credits.

The State Board of Education gave the rule change initial approval at its meeting in Pocatello yesterday; now, it'll go out for public comment, then return for final approval in November. It still would need legislative review, and wouldn't take effect until the 2014-2015 school year. Jay Larsen, president of the Idaho Technology Council, said it makes sense to encourage students to take these courses in high school to prepare them for future careers in STEM fields. Luna said, “Often, students have interest in STEM courses, but are not willing to give up electives to take these classes. By expanding our math and science requirements, we will open up a world of high-tech opportunities to every high school student.” Click below for Luna's full news release on the proposed rule change.

State Board of Ed adopts policy to protect privacy of student data

Idaho's state Board of Education adopted a new policy today requiring that the privacy of student data be carefully protected, as the state ramps up its Statewide Longitudinal Data System, which has been years in the works to help better track student progress. Here's the board's new policy:

The privacy of all student level data that is collected by the SLDS will be protected. A list of all data fields (but not the data within the fields) collected by the SLDS will be publicly available. Only student identifiable data that is required by law will be shared with the federal government.”

Don Soltman, board president, said, “The board recognizes it is essential to provide all the safeguards necessary to ensure that student data are handled with the greatest care,” and said the board is “committed to protecting the privacy of individual student data and will continue to closely monitor the collection and use of all data.” Click below for the board's full announcement.

State board extends contracts for three university presidents, grants them 3% raises

Idaho’s State Board of Education, meeting today in Twin Falls, approved 3 percent salary increases for the presidents of Boise State University, Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College; the board also extended the current contract term for each of them by an additional year. The new salaries: BSU, President Bob Kustra: $353,432; ISU, President Arthur Vailas, $340,027; LCSC, President Tony Fernandez, $170,884.

State board approves new contracts for head basketball coaches at BSU, UI

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The men's basketball coaches at Boise State and the University of Idaho have new contracts. The Idaho Board of Education on Thursday approved contracts for BSU coach Leon Rice and UI coach Don Verlin. Rice's five-year deal pays him a base salary of $482,110 next season, with 3 percent raises each year. It also includes bonuses for the team's success both on the court and in the classroom, including a $15,000 bonus if the Broncos win the Mountain West Conference tournament championship. Verlin's three-year deal has his base pay starting at $156,832 and increasing to $169,629 by the final year. He will receive $60,000 in media payments each season and is eligible for bonuses based on his team's success.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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